Position: Retiring Math Teacher
School: Hoke County High School
School District: Hoke County Schools
City, State: Raeford, NC
Music that Describes Queen Esther
Esther Hollingsworth-Shaw was nominated by her superintendent, Freddie Williamson.
Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw definitely embraces all of the characteristics of a LifeChanger. She has dedicated over 40 years of providing exemplary service and support to the students, families, employees, and community members of Hoke County Schools. At the conclusion of the 2019-2020 school year, she will be retiring. Her contributions, leadership, and dedication to the students and community will be greatly missed.
“Esther's math classroom has been a staple in the lives of Hoke County students for over four decades. Each day, the full focus of her energy and commitment to excellence was never in question,” said Roger Edwards, associate superintendent for Hoke County Schools.
Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw’s dedication, positive attitude, nonstop energy, and her willingness to always go above and beyond have led to her receiving numerous local, state, and national awards throughout her tenure including:
Hoke County High School Teacher of the Year
Hoke County Teacher of the Year
North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics Award
2017 Hoke County Hall of Fame
2016 Outstanding Mathematics Design Collaborative Award
Over the past four decades, Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw’s student-centered instruction has enabled hundreds of high school students to apply the knowledge they gained through experience and hands-on strategies in solving complex problems. By requiring students to think on their own with guiding questions and probing feedback from her, she provided students with the opportunities they needed to gain skills they could use in college and in the workforce. She focuses on 21st century skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, perseverance, and self-monitoring, instead of just mathematical content. Her goal is to help students develop the characteristics needed for college, career, and life readiness.
Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw has created a positive learning environment that is very student-oriented. She focuses on building positive self-esteem through high standards and well-designed instruction. Her classroom promotes collaboration, teamwork, high ethical character, and communication. She consistently adjusts instruction based on formative assessment and student work products.
In 2016, she was awarded with the Outstanding Mathematics Design Collaborative (MDC) Teacher Award by the Southern Regional Education Board, an organization consisting of governors from 16 states and four gubernatorial appointees from each state. Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw was honored for her formal and informal leadership as a coach and supporter of her peers. She was also recognized for supporting her school district as they built capacity to adopt the MDC approach and shift instruction using evidence-based practices that engage students in reasoning and applying math content to complex problems. As a master teacher, she consistently serves as a role model for all stakeholders by demonstrating and embracing the importance of growth.
Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw’s dedication, compassion, and ability to listen responsively to students and staff have contributed to the respect she is granted by her colleagues at the school and district levels. As a teacher-leader, she mentors new teachers and facilitates “working lunches” for the math department in her classroom on a regular basis. She also meets with teachers after school to help them with whatever they need to be successful. Additionally, she supports her district's math professional development efforts by collaborating and facilitating workshops for middle school and high school math teachers. Finally, she's one of the district’s “go-to” people because she is dependable, knowledgeable, produces quality work, has high moral and ethical standards, and has a positive attitude. Even after 40 years of teaching, she continues to seek opportunities to learn and grow as a professional.
Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw’s leadership has had a significant impact on her school, school district, and community. Over the course of her career, she has served as a math teacher, Instructional Facilitator, Women’s Varsity Basketball Coach, Women’s Volleyball Coach, Assistant Track Coach, Math Department Chairperson, School Improvement Team Member, Grade 9 Transition Team Member, Summer Math Academy Administrator, Army Youth Program in Your Neighborhood (AYPYN) Site Coordinator, and Beginning Teacher Mentor, Local and National Presenter. She led the women’s basketball team to numerous conference championships and ranked 4th in the state. In 2017, she was inducted into the Hoke County Hall of Fame for her athletic accomplishments.
On top of her many supportive roles, Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw found time to offer tutoring sessions several times each week for students needing extra academic support. Her efforts to motivate students also include frequent parent contacts through phone calls, emails and face-to-face meetings. She believes in bridging the gap between home and school.
"Our larger community continues to benefit from the work ethic and the knowledge Mrs. Hollingsworth-Shaw has instilled in our students," said Williamson. "The entire Hoke County Schools community holds her in very high regard. She has definitely changed the lives of the students she teaches, the teachers she has mentored, the administrators who learn something from her each time they are around her, and the parents who request to have their children in her class each year."